Climate awareness activities in Calanques National Park
The Calanques National Park launches its climate change awareness activities
Recently, the Calanques National Park (NP) has started to organize the work on climate change awareness raising activities dedicated to either the general public or to the educational one.
In the frame of the annual meeting of the “Educalanques” network, organized last January 2021, the project MPA Engage was presented to the participants, as well as their possible involvement in the climate change awareness raising activities expected in this project.
The “Educalanques” network, composed by local stakeholders participating in environmental education on the territory of the Calanques NP (environmental associations, local institutions, teachers, etc.) has the objective of making the nature accessible to all and creating a toolbox on the Calanques.
A short brainstorming was proposed during this meeting with the idea of making these stakeholders think about how they could complete some of their existing pedagogic tools, activities and events, with a focus on present and future climate change impacts on sea temperature, sea level or biodiversity. Indeed, climate change is often absent from these pedagogic tools, with a preference for human pressures generated by direct recreational and professional activities happening in the Calanques NP.
A training was organized with the new eco-rangers, in which the MPA Engage project and the different climate change impacts were presented and explained in order to raise awareness on climate change among the visitors during the field patrols and the activities in the next summer.
CITIZEN SCIENCE GROWTH THROUGH POLARIS IN THE CALANQUES NATIONAL PARK
The Calanques National Park has reinforced its partnership with the association Septentrion Environnement to engage citizen divers in the monitoring of climate changes. Septentrion Environnement has already developed a collaborative, scientific and pedagogic platform named POLARIS, which applies citizen science and marine ecology to environmental management.
Recreational divers have learnt and were trained to the environmental observation through pedagogic workshops onshore, and specific training dives supervised by marine biologists offshore.
Training on climate change monitoring in the Calanques National Park
In the frame of MPA Engage, the Calanques National Park implemented different protocols in its territory to monitor the impacts of climate change, in particular the Fish Visual Census of climate change indicators and the Mass Mortality Assessment of macrobenthic species.
During the summer 2020, a training of the Calanques National Park field staff on those 2 monitoring protocols happened for them to get used to the methodologies, to the species underwater, to the climate change impacts on them and to all the data management during and after the dives. The training was performed by the association Septentrion Environnement, which is expert on Fish Visual Census and on Gorgonian Mass Mortality Assessment.
The theoretical course was definitely a success, many species monitored were met during this training, such as a big school of Sarpa salpa (see the photo) and the MPA field staff was ready to execute the Fish Visual Census monitoring to begin with these protocols that were carried out in the MPA during the autumn.
Regarding the Mass Mortality Assessment of macrobenthic species, the training has to be postponed later in the summer, as the weather was really bad. Nevertheless, the Calanques National Park constituted a good playground to test this protocol as there are large forests of gorgonians in different sites. The MPA field staff can thus be easily trained to detect the mortality temporality of these gorgonians.